Heating and Cooling Frequently Asked Questions

Brown Service Company has compiled a list of some of the most commonly asked questions our technicians get about heating, cooling, air ducts, and more. Select from the set of popular questions or browse an entire category.

Don’t see your question listed? Contact us today at 817-284-9204.

 

Air Conditioning FAQs

Understanding how your air conditioner works will help you know when to call an air conditioner repair man. All air conditioners use heat transference to move energy. AC units circulate pressurized chemical refrigerant through a sealed system of tubes and chambers. One side of the system is high- pressure, and the other is low-pressure. As refrigerant passes through the low-pressure chamber (the evaporator), liquid refrigerant changes into a vapor in a process that takes heat energy out of the ambient air. The vapor carries the energy to the high-pressure chamber (the condenser). As the vapor changes back into liquid inside the condenser, the stored energy is released. A compressor pump moves the refrigerant, and a calibrated restriction in the lines maintains the pressure differential. Fans circulate air across both chambers to facilitate the heat transfer.If you have any questions or just want to learn more, ask one of our experts for a more details about the components of an air conditioner.

A frozen AC unit indicates a problem. There are some common reasons for air conditioners to freeze up, but the best way to identify the issue is through a troubleshooting procedure. Freezing often occurs on older units that have been improperly maintained. Restricted airflow over the internal components, caused by dust buildup and clogged filters, can prevent an AC unit from absorbing heat efficiently. Condensation trapped along the internal components can freeze to the unit. Leaking refrigerant lines or internal damage to the working mechanical components can create pressure zones that lead to freezing conditions. While it may be possible to simply flush or clean the system to restore functionality, you should always call a qualified HVAC expert for a professional air conditioning diagnostic service before you attempt to diagnose or solve the problem on your own.

As a homeowner, you should routinely perform basic home air conditioner maintenance to ensure that your unit is functioning safely and efficiently. Before you inspect your AC, isolate the power by switching off the breaker.Examine the mechanical and electrical components for potential problems, and take note of any loose wires, corroded contacts, signs of vermin or other red flags. Clean up any noticeable dust and change dirty or clogged filters. Next, listen to your AC unit run. A properly working unit will hum with a consistent tone. If you hear unusual mechanical noises, you’ll probably need to repair or replace your AC.Finally,test your thermostat and check the temperature of the air coming out of your vents.

Once you get to know your AC unit, you’ll be able to identify and address potential problems early.If you suspect that you need a repair – or a new unit – call a professional HVAC technician for help.

Air Duct FAQs

First, locate all of your home’s vents and clear any furniture, rugs, or other objects out of the area so they don’t get dust on them. After you remove the vent cover, get a vacuum and suck all the dust, dirt, and debris out of the duct. (If the vent is high up or otherwise in an awkward spot, you may want to get someone to help hold the vacuum.) Next, wipe down the inside of the vent with a rag and soapy water. You should also check for mold; if you find any spray with vinegar or mold killing solution and then scrub it away. After you let the duct dry out, replace the cover and put everything back.

Or, if all that seems like a lot of work, you can just hire Brown Service Company to do your duct cleaning for you.

Category: Air-Ducts

There are a number of things that might indicate your ducts are getting dirty. If you smell stale or musty odors when the furnace or air conditioning runs, that’s one indicator; another is that your furnace filters quickly become dirty after changing them. If you notice excessive dust that reappears on your furniture or walls shortly after cleaning, that’s another indicator of trouble. Other problems that might indicate you need to clean the ducts include low airflow from your vents and unexplained headaches or congestion. Even if you don’t have any of these warning indicators, you should have your ducts cleaned regularly if anyone in your home has allergies or asthma; if you, your family members, or prior residents of the house are or were smokers; and if you or the prior residents kept cats, dogs, or other pets.

Category: Air-Ducts

In most cases, no. If the problem is low airflow or spreading dust, simply cleaning out the duct will almost always be sufficient. If you have mold, however, it depends on the type of duct—fiberboard ductwork will probably need to be replaced to eliminate the infestation, while metal ducts can just be cleaned. If you have minor leaks in your ductwork, then minor repairs should so the trick. For major problems, however, you might need to replace the duct. You’ll also need to replace your ductwork if you’re replacing your air conditioner or furnace, in order to ensure that the ducts are a good match. If the ducts don’t meet the necessary specifications of a heating or AC unit, then the warm or cool air can’t get to you, which defeats the purpose.

Category: Air-Ducts

Condensation is a perfectly normal part of a functioning air conditioner. HVAC technicians inspecting AC units for condensation look for proper drainage when performing an air conditioner trouble shooting procedure. A lack of condensation coming from your unit can signal a larger problem. As temperatures change, humidity in the air condenses on the lines and other components of your AC unit. A drain allows that water to escape. On particularly humid days, that condensation and draining can create a large puddle of water under or near your AC. A clogged drain slows or stops the water’s escape, leading to unpleasant smells, contamination, rust accumulation on metal components and corrosion of electrical connections.If you detect unusual odors coming from the AC unit or suspect that your condensation drain is clogged, have an expert perform an inspection.

Category: Air-Ducts

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There are many important reasons to check your indoor air quality. The most simple and basic air quality tests rely on your own senses. Musty air and unnatural odors, for example,often signal an air quality problem. To detect some forms of contamination, however, you’ll need special sensors. Carbon monoxide and radon are undetectable by human senses, so most homes have special detectors that alert you when your home has an unhealthy level of these deadly contaminants. Proper ventilation may resolve some of the common air quality issues. If you are experiencing symptoms of physical illness, however,hire an HVAC expert to perform a professional test of indoor air quality. A professional HVAC technician will use advanced diagnostic equipment to identify mold, asbestos and other unseen high-risk elements.

Category: Air-Ducts

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Electrical FAQs

Your energy bill could be high for many reasons, including an overused or malfunctioning air conditioner. Fortunately, there are also numerous ways to lower your air conditioning expenses.  As a basic rule, remember that your costs rise as your air conditioning works harder to cool your home. To ensure that your AC unit is functioning at peak performance check for and replace any old, worn-out thermostats or clogged air filters. If you think that your bill is still too high, even after you’ve performed a basic air conditioner troubleshooting procedure, have an expert HVAC technician make recommendations to improve the performance of your AC unit for summer.

Category: Electrical

Your heat pump options include those that run off of natural gas, those that operate off of electricity, pumps with variable speeds and those with dual speed motors. While shopping for a heat pump, be sure to look for one that’s energy efficient, operates quietly and will be able to keep running efficiently no matter how cold it becomes outside.

If possible, we recommend heat pumps that run off of natural gas since electric heat pumps can drive up your power bills exponentially if the weather gets cold enough. We also suggest that you choose a heat pump with a two-speed compressor so that your pump doesn’t have to work as hard and experience as much wear and tear, which can go a long way in extending the life of your heat pump.

Category: Electrical

Yes. The reason for this is that local building codes are put in place to ensure that your electrical remodeling and any other type of remodeling you plan on doing is done safely. While you might not like the idea of having to pay for a permit in order to be in compliance with codes, you have to realize that doing so makes your home safer and can cause less of a headache and financial stress should an accident occur.

If you proceed with your electrical remodeling without checking building codes and you violate them, you can be subject to fines and penalties. If your remodeling is complete when the violation is discovered, you’ll have to return your home to its original condition. Let us know if you need help with information about local building codes or with your electrical remodeling.

Category: Electrical

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To repair an electrical panel, you’ll need a screwdriver to remove the cover, a multimeter and a fuse puller if there are fuses in the box. If you need circuit breakers, replacement fuses or a new panel, you’ll most likely be able to find them at a local home improvement center or hardware store.

If you don’t feel confident in your ability to repair an electrical panel, of if you’d prefer to have a professional do it instead, our expert electricians would be more than happy to give you a hand or offer you some tips and advice if you ever find yourself stuck. Before you get started, make sure that you consult the index on the panel for information about which lights, appliances and receptacles are on the circuit.

Category: Electrical

HVAC System FAQs

To optimize your home’s heating and cooling system and save on monthly energy bills, find a thermostat that works efficiently with your HVAC system. When used properly, a digital thermostat with programmable controls can help lower your heating and cooling expenses. For maximum benefits and efficiency,look for a thermostat with a precise, well-designed sensor that provides accurate estimates of interior temperatures. Use the controls to program your system to run or shut off at different times of day. With a properly programmed thermostat, you can tailor your HVAC system to minimize energy waste.For example, you can set your system to run in a way that ensures your home is cool when you get home without running the air conditioning constantly when you are out of the house.Ask a professional for an expert opinion on HVAC thermostats available for your system.

Category: HVAC-System

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When it comes to finding an optimal indoor temperate, winter months can be more complicated than summer ones. As in the summer, you want to find a balance between savings and comfort. In the winter, however, you also need to ensure that your home’s interior stays protected from freezing temperatures.

We recommend that you set your winter thermostat to at least 55 degrees, even when you are away, and to 68 degrees is optimal when you are home and awake. If you’re comfortable with cooler indoor temperatures, lowering your thermostat by 10 to 15 degrees when you are asleep or away can reduce your heating expenses by 5 to 15 percent annually. If you think your energy bill is too high, or if you are having difficulty heating your home, contact a professional HVAC heater inspection service for assistance.

Category: HVAC-System

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Insulation FAQs

You should always aim to install the best quality home insulation available. Your annual heating and cooling costs depend on the amount of heat transference between the inside of your home and the outside. As you research the common styles of insulation available,pay attention to the “R” value, which describes the speed at which the inside temperature changes to match the outside.That measure of thermal resistance will give you a good sense of the insulation’s efficiency. You should also make sure that the insulation you choose is fire-resistant and appropriate for the construction application. If you need help selecting the right insulation style for your project, consult your local home insulation installation and inspection experts.

Category: Insulation

Not only is insulation helpful for keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, it’s also great for helping you to save money on your HVAC bills every month. Proper insulation also adds to your overall comfort level for you and everyone else in your household.

Insulation can also go a long way in improving sound control in your home, which your neighbors will appreciate just as much as you do. Another practical benefit of insulation is adding value to your home. Your home is more likely to sell for your desired price when potential buyers learn that it’s efficiently insulated for the winter and the summer. Insulation also offers health benefits by reducing the chances of you having mold and damp problems.

Category: Insulation

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Thermostat FAQs

Selecting the right summer temperature for your home depends on finding the right thermostat setting that balances savings and comfort. Many experts agree that 78 degrees is optimal for the summer months. Regardless of what temperature you choose, thermostats should be set at a relatively constant level throughout the day. Proper use of a digital thermostat can help reduce costs by automatically scheduling your air conditioning to run only at the times you actually need.

Whether you use a programmable thermostat to control your AC or not,remember to let your air conditioning unit rest. Opening your windows during the cooler evening hours reduces your costs and allows fresh air to in your home. Keeping windows covered with dark shades reduces the amount of heat from the sun trapped inside. Upgrade your thermostat, and consult with an expert for additional tips to lower your energy bill and keep your home comfortable.

Category: Thermostat

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